The book Chemical Synthetic Biology edited by Pier Luigi Luisi, Professor Emeritus, and Cristiano Chiarabelli, both ETH Zürich, Switzerland, covers a dynamic new area of research at the interface of science and engineering.
In her review in Angewandte Chemie, Susanne Brakmann, Dortmund University of Technology, Germany, says:
In its most popular meaning, synthetic biology “… seeks to use natural parts of biological systems […] to create assemblies that do things that are not done by natural biology”,  for example, the biotechnological production of fuels or fine chemicals. In contrast, the synthetic biology performed by chemists has the opposite aim: “… to use unnatural molecular parts to do things that are done by natural biology”, and thereby to reach a chemical understanding of life.
The book Chemical Synthetic Biology is an up-to-date collection of review articles edited by Luisi and Chiarabelli, which aims to give a topical survey from the chemical point of view.
The unique collection of review articles presented is an excellent source for understanding both the emergence and the importance of chemistry-based synthetic biology, as distinct from the more popular and applications-orientated bioengineering research in this field.
Besides the actual scientific information, the book also offers insights into some of the authors’ personal views and experiences.
As a whole, the book provides thought-provoking discussions that help one to sort and evaluate the prospects and risks of a synthetic biology.
 S. A. Benner, F. Chen, Z. Yang in Chemical Synthetic Biology (Eds.: P. L. Luisi, C. Chiarabelli), John Wiley & Sons, Hoboken, 2011.
- Read the full book review at:
Angew. Chem. Int. Ed. 2012, 51(8), 1759.
- Also of interest:
Interview with Frances H. Arnold — Design by Evolution
Caltech Professor Frances H. Arnold sees laboratory evolution designing biology as solution to human problems
ChemViews Mag. 2011.